Working with Text and Shapes in Photoshop 2021 Release

These are notes from the Adobe video


When you add text in Photoshop, it automatically appears on a special type of layer called a text layer. Text on such a layer remains editable even in you have closed and then reopened the document, as long as you have saved the file in Photoshop (.psd) format.

The tool you will use most often is the Horizontal Type Tool. In the options bar at the top, you can specify font, font size, color, and other options for the text. The default font size (12 pt) is very small on a large image, so in these cases, you will typically want to increase it.

If you have multiple lines of text, you will often want to put these into separate layers for ease in future editing. To put the text in a separate type layer, click far enough away from the existing layer and start typing; once a separate layer is created, you can always more the layers closer. To add another line of text on the same type layer, simply hit return on your keyboard and type the next line.

To change the options for text in a given layer, you can just select the layer and then change the options in the options bar, without selecting the text. Alternatively, you can use the Text tool to select text in the document, and the corresponding text type layer is automatically selected.

To create paragraph text, you can select the Type Tool and then click and drag a box. If you then type text into the box, it will wrap. You can resize the box and the text will reflow to adjust to the new dimensions.


The shape tools are all under the same tool. If you use one of these tools and then draw a shape, Photoshop will put the shape in its own layer. a shape layer, which contains smooth-edged objects which retain their smooth edges when they are resized. One of these tools is the Rectangle tool where the options permit you to specify the amount of rounding on each corner; notice that the rounded corners are smooth.

You can change the color of the object in a shape layer on the fly. Go to the Layers panel and double click on the thumbnail in the shape layer. This will bring up the Color Picker. While the Color Picker is open, if you move your cursor outside of the Color Picker, it changes to an eyedropper and you can click on any portion of the image to sample that color and color your shape.

To add a custom shape, click on the Shape tool showing in the Tools panel and select Custom Shape Tool. Go up to the options bar and select the dropdown for the Shape Picker (second from the right). In Photoshop 2021, you will see only four categories of shapes displayed (Leaf Trees, Wild Animals, Boats, and Flowers). To see more shapes, choose Window>Shapes and click on the menu (hamburger) icon at the top right of this panel. In the list, select "Legacy Shapes and More". This category will now be available in the dropdown for the Shape Picker.

After you draw the shape, you can select Edit > Free Transform Path to resize the shape. Again, hold down the shift key to maintain the same proportions.

Revised: April 19, 2021. Comments to Bill Pegram,